One good way of figuring out when to go on a mini break to a country is to check when their big national holiday is (the equivalent of 4th of July in the US). They are guaranteed to have lots of interesting events on around that time.
Budapest, Hungary is an underrated city destination in Europe. It has the charm of Prague but it is cheaper to visit and it is only two hours by plane from London airports. Plus there are regular flights from Manchester too.
Hungary’s biggest national holiday is on 20th August. It is St. Stephen’s day, who was the founder of the medieval Kingdom of Hungary in the late 10th century. But the events on offer around this time of the year are anything but medieval.
For lovers of popular music, the middle of August features the week-long Sziget festival (pronounced see-get). Acts are similar to Glastonbury, but the weather is much better. No mud or freezing, although it can of course rain occasionally. It is held on a 100 hectare island (‘sziget’ in Hungarian) on the Danube in Northern Budapest. There is a wide variety of acts – pop, rock, punk, techno, folk, jazz, etc. Headliners are true international stars with many top acts from the UK. There are also other events, such as a TED tent. There is bound to be something for everyone.
Closer to 20th of August there are always a host of cultural events taking place in the city whether exhibitions, classical concerts or children’s activities. One highlight every year is the Festival of Folk Arts taking place in the beautiful castle of Buda. Typically lasting four of five days, this features an orgy of usable folk art products, lots of street food, folk music, hands-on craft demonstrations (ever wanted to try saddlery?) and dance performances. This one is good for the whole family.
Finally on the 20th of August there’s a big fireworks display in the centre of the city, over the Danube. Enjoy your visit!